From Timeframe to Volume: What Determines Technical Translation Rates

February 2, 2021

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An in-depth study shows that the Bureau of Labor Statics believes that the employment rate of interpreters and translators will spike up by 18% between 2016 and 2026. It means that the chances of your brand interacting with a technical translator are high. 

In order for prospective clients to interact and work with technical translators, it’s vital they understand what determines technical translation rates. 

It’s likely that your quote will vary from agency to agency and even freelancer to freelancer. However, several key factors define the basic structure of translation rates. Here we discuss the main factors affecting technical translation rates:

What is Technical Translation? 

Technical translation refers to the translation of content related to scientific and technical subject matters. Typically, to ensure appropriate and stellar translation, brands need to hire adept and skilled technical translators. 

A proficient technical translator will boast a deep understanding of the subject matter alongside a unique skill-set vital from translating from one language to the other. Generally, scientific articles require translators with graduate degrees in specific fields like medical, engineering, and so on.

Moreover, if you hire a translator with a proper grasp of the material offered, you’ll have to pay more. However, you can rely on them to offer excellent quality and engaging work.

What Determines Technical Translation Rates

Factors Affecting Technical Translation Rates 

The final translation price of your project depends on plenty of different factors. From the subject matter right down to the delivery time, a variety of elements influences your final quote. These are as follows:

The Subject Matter and its Complexity 

Different projects offer a different subject matter of varying complexity. For instance, if the content provided is super complex, you’ll need an expert and experienced technical translator to ensure premium results. 

It also means that hiring a well-versed translator with a remarkable understanding of the field will cost you more than a non-specialist. Thus, employee contracts typically cost higher than mere product descriptions. 

Per Word or Per Hour?

Most companies and freelancers operate on a pay-per-word basis structure. However, several others charge at an hourly rate. The first is preferred due to the inconsistency the second one offers. 

Per hour charging may differ from person to person on the basis of their experience and skill-set. Where experts can complete it within hours, novices may take longer. For this reason, per hour is only utilized for editing and updating tasks.

On the other hand, convenient and trustworthy per-word pricing is used for technical translation tasks of all kinds.

Quality of the Content 

Now there’s no way of predicting whether the client will offer a project of poor quality. The image provider may be blurry or the audio too low. Either way, delivering bad quality projects will spike up the rates well. 

On the flip side, translating equipment and softwares help users pinpoint any repetitions the delivered draft may contain. In this way, the client may reduce the rates by a certain amount. 

What Determines Technical Translation Rates

Volume and Delivery Time

Typically, the delivery time of a task is decided beforehand. However, the client may require fast delivery. 

In turn, the translator may focus the majority of their day on finishing the project and delivering it on-time. Moreover, the faster you require the project, the more you’ll have to pay up.

At the same time, the volume of the asked complex may reduce or increase the overall price as well. 

Language Combination 

Here’s the thing; the world comprises a plethora of different languages. Therefore, you may receive an array of language combinations. Now depending on the language combination, you require, the technical translation rate may vary.

For example, Japanese and Hindi are two of the most difficult languages, thus costing more. At the same time, Arabic and Urdu are the only two languages that go right to the left, thus requiring extra effort.


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